Court Determines Zip-Line Is Not a “Dangerous Condition,” Upholding Government Immunity in Recent Personal Injury Case

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Colorado issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit that was brought by the parents of a young girl who was seriously injured while playing in her school’s playground. Ultimately, the court concluded that the zip-line on which the girl was playing did not constitute a “dangerous condition” and upheld the school’s governmental immunity.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs’ daughter was playing on a zip-line in her school’s playground when she fell from the apparatus and fractured her wrist and forearm. There was a sign next to the zip-line stating “adult supervision required”; however, it was not clear if there was a school employee nearby when the accident occurred. After their daughter recovered, the parents filed a premises liability lawsuit against the school.

Initially, the school asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that under state law, the school was entitled to government immunity. However, the plaintiffs argued that under the same state law, immunity is not proper when a government is responsible for a “dangerous condition” that is on public property. Thus, the question for the court was whether the zip-line constituted a dangerous condition.

The Court’s Analysis

The court determined that the zip-line was not a dangerous condition because there was no evidence that it was in any way faulty or negligently designed. The court explained that in order for a plaintiff to establish that something is a “dangerous condition,” there must be some proof that there was a defect in the construction or maintenance of the condition. Here, the court noted, the plaintiffs relied only on the fact that zip-lines are inherently dangerous, and they presented no evidence that this specific zip-line was in any way defective.

Recreational Immunity in Maryland

As in the case discussed above, Maryland courts apply a similar doctrine that grants recreational-use immunity to any landowner – including a government entity – that opens up its land for the general use of the public for recreational uses. However, recreational-use immunity will not always apply when someone is injured while engaging in recreational activity on the land of another party. For example, if the landowner charges a fee, recreational-use immunity will not apply. Similarly, if the landowner acts in a malicious or willful manner, immunity will not be appropriate.

Have You Been Injured on the Property of Another Party?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on the property of another party, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland premises liability lawsuit. The skilled attorneys at the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of personal injury cases on behalf of their clients, including cases naming state or local government entities as defendants. For more information, and to discuss your case with a dedicated personal injury attorney, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Allows Defendant’s Prior DUI Convictions into Evidence in Recent Car Accident Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, May 22, 2017.

Maryland Appellate Court Holds That a Statute of Limitations May Be Tolled When a Defendant Fraudulently Conceals Important Evidence, Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 1, 2017.

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